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Importance - Polygenic risk scores comprising millions of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) could be useful for population-wide coronary heart disease (CHD) screening.
Objective - To determine whether a polygenic risk score improves prediction of CHD compared with a guideline-recommended clinical risk equation.
Design, Setting, and Participants - A retrospective cohort study of the predictive accuracy of a previously validated polygenic risk score was assessed among 4847 adults of white European ancestry, aged 45 through 79 years, participating in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study and 2390 participating in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) from 1996 through December 31, 2015, the final day of follow-up. The performance of the polygenic risk score was compared with that of the 2013 American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association pooled cohort equations.
Exposures - Genetic risk was computed for each participant by summing the product of the weights and allele dosage across 6 630 149 SNPs. Weights were based on an international genome-wide association study.
Main Outcomes and Measures - Prediction of 10-year first CHD events (including myocardial infarctions, fatal coronary events, silent infarctions, revascularization procedures, or resuscitated cardiac arrest) assessed using measures of model discrimination, calibration, and net reclassification improvement (NRI).
Results - The study population included 4847 adults from the ARIC study (mean [SD] age, 62.9 [5.6] years; 56.4% women) and 2390 adults from the MESA cohort (mean [SD] age, 61.8 [9.6] years; 52.2% women). Incident CHD events occurred in 696 participants (14.4%) and 227 participants (9.5%), respectively, over median follow-up of 15.5 years (interquartile range [IQR], 6.3 years) and 14.2 (IQR, 2.5 years) years. The polygenic risk score was significantly associated with 10-year CHD incidence in ARIC with hazard ratios per SD increment of 1.24 (95% CI, 1.15 to 1.34) and in MESA, 1.38 (95% CI, 1.21 to 1.58). Addition of the polygenic risk score to the pooled cohort equations did not significantly increase the C statistic in either cohort (ARIC, change in C statistic, -0.001; 95% CI, -0.009 to 0.006; MESA, 0.021; 95% CI, -0.0004 to 0.043). At the 10-year risk threshold of 7.5%, the addition of the polygenic risk score to the pooled cohort equations did not provide significant improvement in reclassification in either ARIC (NRI, 0.018, 95% CI, -0.012 to 0.036) or MESA (NRI, 0.001, 95% CI, -0.038 to 0.076). The polygenic risk score did not significantly improve calibration in either cohort.
Conclusions and Relevance - In this analysis of 2 cohorts of US adults, the polygenic risk score was associated with incident coronary heart disease events but did not significantly improve discrimination, calibration, or risk reclassification compared with conventional predictors. These findings suggest that a polygenic risk score may not enhance risk prediction in a general, white middle-aged population.
Genome-wide association studies have identified breast cancer risk variants in over 150 genomic regions, but the mechanisms underlying risk remain largely unknown. These regions were explored by combining association analysis with in silico genomic feature annotations. We defined 205 independent risk-associated signals with the set of credible causal variants in each one. In parallel, we used a Bayesian approach (PAINTOR) that combines genetic association, linkage disequilibrium and enriched genomic features to determine variants with high posterior probabilities of being causal. Potentially causal variants were significantly over-represented in active gene regulatory regions and transcription factor binding sites. We applied our INQUSIT pipeline for prioritizing genes as targets of those potentially causal variants, using gene expression (expression quantitative trait loci), chromatin interaction and functional annotations. Known cancer drivers, transcription factors and genes in the developmental, apoptosis, immune system and DNA integrity checkpoint gene ontology pathways were over-represented among the highest-confidence target genes.
BACKGROUND - We characterised the phenotypic consequence of genetic variation at the PCSK9 locus and compared findings with recent trials of pharmacological inhibitors of PCSK9.
METHODS - Published and individual participant level data (300,000+ participants) were combined to construct a weighted PCSK9 gene-centric score (GS). Seventeen randomized placebo controlled PCSK9 inhibitor trials were included, providing data on 79,578 participants. Results were scaled to a one mmol/L lower LDL-C concentration.
RESULTS - The PCSK9 GS (comprising 4 SNPs) associations with plasma lipid and apolipoprotein levels were consistent in direction with treatment effects. The GS odds ratio (OR) for myocardial infarction (MI) was 0.53 (95% CI 0.42; 0.68), compared to a PCSK9 inhibitor effect of 0.90 (95% CI 0.86; 0.93). For ischemic stroke ORs were 0.84 (95% CI 0.57; 1.22) for the GS, compared to 0.85 (95% CI 0.78; 0.93) in the drug trials. ORs with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) were 1.29 (95% CI 1.11; 1.50) for the GS, as compared to 1.00 (95% CI 0.96; 1.04) for incident T2DM in PCSK9 inhibitor trials. No genetic associations were observed for cancer, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or Alzheimer's disease - outcomes for which large-scale trial data were unavailable.
CONCLUSIONS - Genetic variation at the PCSK9 locus recapitulates the effects of therapeutic inhibition of PCSK9 on major blood lipid fractions and MI. While indicating an increased risk of T2DM, no other possible safety concerns were shown; although precision was moderate.
The stress response system is disrupted in individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) as well as in those at elevated risk for developing MDD. We examined whether DNA methylation (DNAm) levels of CpG sites within HPA-axis genes predict the onset of MDD. Seventy-seven girls, approximately half (n = 37) of whom were at familial risk for MDD, were followed longitudinally. Saliva samples were taken in adolescence (M age = 13.06 years [SD = 1.52]) when participants had no current or past MDD diagnosis. Diagnostic interviews were administered approximately every 18 months until the first onset of MDD or early adulthood (M age of last follow-up = 19.23 years [SD = 2.69]). We quantified DNAm in saliva samples using the Illumina EPIC chip and examined CpG sites within six key HPA-axis genes (NR3C1, NR3C2, CRH, CRHR1, CRHR2, FKBP5) alongside 59 genotypes for tagging SNPs capturing cis genetic variability. DNAm levels within CpG sites in NR3C1, CRH, CRHR1, and CRHR2 were associated with risk for MDD across adolescence and young adulthood. To rule out the possibility that findings were merely due to the contribution of genetic variability, we re-analyzed the data controlling for cis genetic variation within these candidate genes. Importantly, methylation levels in these CpG sites continued to significantly predict the onset of MDD, suggesting that variation in the epigenome, independent of proximal genetic variants, prospectively predicts the onset of MDD. These findings suggest that variation in the HPA axis at the level of the methylome may predict the development of MDD.
Immunity genes have repeatedly experienced natural selection during mammalian evolution. Galectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins that regulate diverse immune responses, including maternal-fetal immune tolerance in placental pregnancy. Seven human galectins, four conserved across vertebrates and three specific to primates, are involved in placental development. To comprehensively study the molecular evolution of these galectins, both across mammals and within humans, we conducted a series of between- and within-species evolutionary analyses. By examining patterns of sequence evolution between species, we found that primate-specific galectins showed uniformly high substitution rates, whereas two of the four other galectins experienced accelerated evolution in primates. By examining human population genomic variation, we found that galectin genes and variants, including variants previously linked to immune diseases, showed signatures of recent positive selection in specific human populations. By examining one nonsynonymous variant in Galectin-8 previously associated with autoimmune diseases, we further discovered that it is tightly linked to three other nonsynonymous variants; surprisingly, the global frequency of this four-variant haplotype is ∼50%. To begin understanding the impact of this major haplotype on Galectin-8 protein structure, we modeled its 3D protein structure and found that it differed substantially from the reference protein structure. These results suggest that placentally expressed galectins experienced both ancient and more recent selection in a lineage- and population-specific manner. Furthermore, our discovery that the major Galectin-8 haplotype is structurally distinct from and more commonly found than the reference haplotype illustrates the significance of understanding the evolutionary processes that sculpted variants associated with human genetic disease.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Autopsy measures of Alzheimer's disease neuropathology have been leveraged as endophenotypes in previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, despite evidence of sex differences in Alzheimer's disease risk, sex-stratified models have not been incorporated into previous GWAS analyses. We looked for sex-specific genetic associations with Alzheimer's disease endophenotypes from six brain bank data repositories. The pooled dataset included 2701 males and 3275 females, the majority of whom were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at autopsy (70%). Sex-stratified GWAS were performed within each dataset and then meta-analysed. Loci that reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10-8) in stratified models were further assessed for sex interactions. Additional analyses were performed in independent datasets leveraging cognitive, neuroimaging and CSF endophenotypes, along with age-at-onset data. Outside of the APOE region, one locus on chromosome 7 (rs34331204) showed a sex-specific association with neurofibrillary tangles among males (P = 2.5 × 10-8) but not females (P = 0.85, sex-interaction P = 2.9 × 10-4). In follow-up analyses, rs34331204 was also associated with hippocampal volume, executive function, and age-at-onset only among males. These results implicate a novel locus that confers male-specific protection from tau pathology and highlight the value of assessing genetic associations in a sex-specific manner.
© The Author(s) (2019). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: email@example.com.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD), defined by low estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), contributes to global morbidity and mortality. Here we conduct a transethnic Genome-Wide Association Study of eGFR in 280,722 participants of the Million Veteran Program (MVP), with replication in 765,289 participants from the Chronic Kidney Disease Genetics (CKDGen) Consortium. We identify 82 previously unreported variants, confirm 54 loci, and report interesting findings including association of the sickle cell allele of betaglobin among non-Hispanic blacks. Our transcriptome-wide association study of kidney function in healthy kidney tissue identifies 36 previously unreported and nine known genes, and maps gene expression to renal cell types. In a Phenome-Wide Association Study in 192,868 MVP participants using a weighted genetic score we detect associations with CKD stages and complications and kidney stones. This investigation reinterprets the genetic architecture of kidney function to identify the gene, tissue, and anatomical context of renal homeostasis and the clinical consequences of dysregulation.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is responsible for a public health burden with multi-systemic complications. Through trans-ancestry meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and independent replication (n = 1,046,070), we identified 264 associated loci (166 new). Of these, 147 were likely to be relevant for kidney function on the basis of associations with the alternative kidney function marker blood urea nitrogen (n = 416,178). Pathway and enrichment analyses, including mouse models with renal phenotypes, support the kidney as the main target organ. A genetic risk score for lower eGFR was associated with clinically diagnosed CKD in 452,264 independent individuals. Colocalization analyses of associations with eGFR among 783,978 European-ancestry individuals and gene expression across 46 human tissues, including tubulo-interstitial and glomerular kidney compartments, identified 17 genes differentially expressed in kidney. Fine-mapping highlighted missense driver variants in 11 genes and kidney-specific regulatory variants. These results provide a comprehensive priority list of molecular targets for translational research.
Understanding the nature of the genetic regulation of gene expression promises to advance our understanding of the genetic basis of disease. However, the methodological impact of the use of local ancestry on high-dimensional omics analyses, including, most prominently, expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) mapping and trait heritability estimation, in admixed populations remains critically underexplored. Here, we develop a statistical framework that characterizes the relationships among the determinants of the genetic architecture of an important class of molecular traits. We provide a computationally efficient approach to local ancestry analysis in eQTL mapping while increasing control of type I and type II error over traditional approaches. Applying our method to National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) and Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) datasets, we show that the use of local ancestry can improve eQTL mapping in admixed and multiethnic populations, respectively. We estimate the trait variance explained by ancestry by using local admixture relatedness between individuals. By using simulations of diverse genetic architectures and degrees of confounding, we show improved accuracy in estimating heritability when accounting for local ancestry similarity. Furthermore, we characterize the sparse versus polygenic components of gene expression in admixed individuals. Our study has important methodological implications for genetic analysis of omics traits across a range of genomic contexts, from a single variant to a prioritized region to the entire genome. Our findings highlight the importance of using local ancestry to better characterize the heritability of complex traits and to more accurately map genetic associations.
Copyright © 2019 American Society of Human Genetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders is characterized by a large number of small-effect variants located primarily in non-coding regions, suggesting that the underlying causal effects may influence disease risk by modulating gene expression. We provide comprehensive analyses using transcriptome data from an unprecedented collection of tissues to gain pathophysiological insights into the role of the brain, neuroendocrine factors (adrenal gland) and gastrointestinal systems (colon) in psychiatric disorders. In each tissue, we perform PrediXcan analysis and identify trait-associated genes for schizophrenia (n associations = 499; n unique genes = 275), bipolar disorder (n associations = 17; n unique genes = 13), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (n associations = 19; n unique genes = 12) and broad depression (n associations = 41; n unique genes = 31). Importantly, both PrediXcan and summary-data-based Mendelian randomization/heterogeneity in dependent instruments analyses suggest potentially causal genes in non-brain tissues, showing the utility of these tissues for mapping psychiatric disease genetic predisposition. Our analyses further highlight the importance of joint tissue approaches as 76% of the genes were detected only in difficult-to-acquire tissues.